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Posted Sat 02 Nov 13 at 17:00 PM

Rovers 1 Middlesbrough 0

Jason Lowe celebrated his new contract in the perfect manner with a stunning strike to earn Rovers three points against Middlesbrough.

The midfielder put pen-to-paper on a new deal last week and followed that up by scoring his first goal for the club in 96 appearances, settling this close-run contest with a thunderbolt to match the lightning at a sodden Ewood Park.

There was little between the two sides in the first half, Alan Judge and Jordan Rhodes were denied by Boro 'keeper Jason Steele, whilst Jake Kean saved a Kei Kamara header.

Huge shouts for a penalty went unheeded after Matt Kilgallon was brought down in the box by Jonathan Woodgate just past the hour mark, then Alan Judge saw a well-struck shot saved.

With 15 minutes to go Jason Lowe advanced towards the Middlesbrough area before unleashing an unstoppable shot the flew into the top corner giving Steele no chance.

Rovers could have had more, Ben Marshall was denied before Rhodes touched a shot just past the post.

Boro piled forward at the end but Rovers stood strong to claim a welcome win.


Gary Bowyer named an unchanged starting eleven for the visit of Middlesbrough, the only changes coming on the bench as DJ Campbell (suspension) and Leon Best (groin) were replaced by Adam Henley and Yann Songo'o.

It was Middlesbrough who were on top early at a wet and wild Ewood Park but it was Rovers who forced the first save.

Following Daniel Ayala's foul on Jordan Rhodes to the left of the area, Alan Judge took the resulting free-kick and is seemed to be heading for the top corner until Jason Steele's fingertip save.

Rovers went into the game without ten senior players and their injury problems increased when Tommy Spurr limped off after just 21 minutes, the defender tried to play on but was eventually replaced by Josh Morris.

Boro continued to have the territorial advantage, forwards Marvin Emnes, Kei Kamara and Albert Adomah looking lively up front. After Emnes had been fouled, a Grant Leadbitter free-kick saw Daniel Ayala nod narrowly over.

A tactical change at the midway point saw King and Judge swap positions and Rovers responded with Josh King racing into the area, but as he pulled the ball back to Alan Judge the Irishman fired over at the near post.

Jordan Rhodes went closer moments later after a break involving Josh King and Tom Cairney, his downward header kept at bay by a diving Jason Steele.

Jonathan Woodgate glanced a Leadbitter free-kick wide before Kei Kamara had a downward header tipped around the post.

Rovers almost broke the deadlock with two chances at the end of the first half, Josh King seeing his long range effort beaten around the post by Steele and from the resulting corner kick the Norwegian headed across goal but just wide.

It was a lively end to a half that was slow to get going.


The rain continued to pour as the second half got underway, neither side making a change at the break.

Jason Lowe tried his luck on 50 minutes as space opened up for him on the edge of the box, but he dragged his effort wide.

Moments later Alan Judge's inswinging cross was on a plate for Jordan Rhodes to open the scoring but for a timely intervention from Daniel Ayala, whilst at the other end Jonathan Woodgate saw his goalbound header blocked.

On 69 minutes Rovers felt they should have had a penalty as Matt Kilgallon was upended in the area by the already booked Woodgate. The Rovers bench were apoplectic as the referee ruled that it was a coming together of bodies.

That injustice seemed to spur Rovers on but no-one would have predicted what would have happened next.

There seemed little on for Rovers as Jason Lowe advanced towards the Middlesbrough area but as the defenders backed off Lowe took full advantage with an unstoppable strike that flew into the roof of the net.

Lowe then went from goalscorer to goal defender as he showed his versatility in moving to centre half to replace the injured Matt Kilgallon.

Rovers stepped up a gear after that, substitute Ben Marshall saw a shot saved then Jordan Rhodes got a touch from a Chris Taylor cross but he couldn't divert it on target.

The visitors threw everything forward in the closing stages, Lukas Jutkiewicz, who scored all the goals against Rovers last season, fired just wide, whist Scott Dann superbly blocked Kai Kamara.

The makeshift back four stood strong and once Todd Kane pulled off an excellent tackle at the death you knew Rovers were going to claim all three points.

ROVERS: Kean, Kane, Dann (c), Kilgallon (sub Marshall 77 mins), Spurr (sub Morris 21 mins), Cairney, Lowe, Williamson, King, Judge (sub Taylor 74 mins), Rhodes.

Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Songo'o, Marrow, Henley.

Goals: Lowe 75 mins.

Booked: Kane.

BORO: Steele, Williams, Woodgate (c), Ayala, Friend, Smallwood, Leadbitter, Adomah (sub Butterfield 85 mins), Varga (sub Carayol 72 mins), Emnes (sub Jutkiewicz 72 mins), Kamara.

Subs not used: Leutwiler (GK), Richardson, Hines, Gibson.

Goals: None.

Booked: Ayala, Woodgate, Emnes, Williams.

Attendance: 16,645

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